Battlefield 3 on a power-sipping ultrabook? They said it couldn't be done. In March, however, Acer and Nvidia proved them wrong. Behind closed doors at the 2012 Game Developer's Conference, the sleek black 15.6-inch Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 ran the demanding game, thanks to a brand-new Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics chip with more bang per watt than anything else we'd seen. Unfortunately for the world, most every other part of that laptop was sorely lacking in quality, and the Timeline M3 was shelved.

That is, until Acer decided to turn that machine into the best bang-for-the-buck laptop on the market. The new Acer Aspire M5 starts at just $629.99 in the US for a solid set of ultrabook specs inside a much-improved chassis, and upgrades are relatively cheap: the $779.99 model adds dedicated GeForce GT 640M LE graphics for gaming, and for $799.99 you can find a touchscreen variant with Windows 8.

Over the past few months, we've put both the touchscreen and game-capable models of the 14-inch Aspire M5 to the test, and we've been pleased with what we've found. In fact, we've already featured the laptop in our Back to School and Holiday Gift Guides due to the results. If you've been holding off on a purchase, though, this review should help you decide once and for all. Let's take a close look at just why the Aspire M5 is worth your consideration, and where Acer still has room for improvement.